"Today, Tennessee Walking Horses are known throughout the industry
as the breed that shows abused and tortured horses."

~ Jim Heird, Ph.D., Do Right By The Horse, February 2010

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity,
you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."

~ St. Francis of Assisi

Support the PAST Act in Arizona


Many people in Arizona may not be aware of the serious problems within the Tennessee Walking Horse (TWH) Industry of soring horses.  In case you don't know what soring is, it's the heinous and illegal method of causing pain to a horse's limbs either mechanically or chemically to cause pain to the horse's limbs to lift his legs higher in the show ring.  The Horse Protection Act (HPA) was passed in 1970 to make soring a felony and to end it.  Click here to read about the HPA.  However, the TWH Industry offered to do the inspections at horse shows themselves so the USDA didn't have to.  This has resulted in "the fox guarding the hen house," and soring is still the main way to "train" horses for the show ring.

This linked video is undercover footage taken in 2011 of Jackie McConnell and his grooms deliberately soring and beating horses to win in the show ring.  You will see him sore what's known as the Performance horse: the horse that wears large stacks on his front feet to force him to lift his legs higher in the show ring.  Since being caught, McConnell has since been sentenced to one year of house arrest, five years monitored probation, and is not allowed to own, train, board, or have any association with horses for the next 20 years.  (Please note, it is quite graphic.)

Since this video was released, other trainers and farriers have been caught soring, and soring is now a felony in Tennessee rather than just a misdemeanor.  The public outrage against soring has increased and become worldwide.  Things are changing, and we're working very hard to keep that change moving.

Unfortunately, the TWH Industry is claiming that soring doesn't happen anymore, or that it's "just a few bad apples."  Yet in 2011, the USDA took random sample swabs of horses' legs.  Of the 52 horses swabbed, all 52 came back with chemicals on them indicative of soring.  Pressure shoeing is also on the rise, where pain is caused to the bottom of the horse's foot but hidden between a pad and a shoe so it is difficult to detect when the horse is being inspected.  The USDA continues to collect evidence that soring is in fact real and continuing to be the dominant way to "train" these poor animals.  For more information, click here for the USDA's HPA website.

In 2005 and 2006, the largest gaited horse show in Arizona eliminated the Performance horse from their show ring.  This action effectively has been able to keep all trainers, owners, exhibitors who have known HPA violations from coming to Arizona to show horses.  It has also brought in exhibitors from other states who were not going to support the show due to those people being here.  This is exciting news, but it doesn't solve the problem overall.

Right now, there is a bill sitting in Congress that we need to get passed.  It's known as the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act, or the PAST Act.  It was written to be an amendment to the HPA to strengthen the penalties associated with violating the HPA, and most importantly, to ban the stacks, chains, bands, and heavy shoes used to sore horses in the show ring.  As of today, 258 Representatives and 42 Senators have co-sponsored the bill.  If we get more than half of them to co-sponsor, then the amendment will pass.  Click here for a link to the information on the PAST Act.

Many of us have been contacting Senator John McCain to ask him to co-sponsor this bill.  He is very interested in doing so, but he wants to see if any horse groups in Arizona are supporting it.

I would like to ask if you could do any of the following.  Any one of these actions would help us tremendously in getting Senator McCain to co-sponsor this bill.

- For horse associations, clubs, and organizations in Arizona, publicly announce your support of the PAST Act and be included on the Endorsements for the PAST Act list.

- For individuals and horse associations, clubs and organizations in Arizona, Write a letter to Senator McCain and Congressman Whitfield (who wrote the PAST Act) in support of the PAST Act from you personally and/or your entire group.  You can send this letter to forthetnwalkinghorse@gmail.com, and I can get it to the right people in Congress so Senator McCain is guaranteed to see it.

- Sign this petition that I have created for the citizens of Arizona to sign. http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/co-sponsor-the-past-act-hr-1518s-1406.html

Overall, I ask that you please help us save the Tennessee Walking Horse from this continued egregious abuse.  Getting Senator McCain's support will make a huge difference in getting the PAST Act passed this year.

It's time we see an end to this,
and your support can help us achieve that goal!

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